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Leap of Faith: Loose-Ball Play Is A Key For Windsor Basketball Win

Windsor — A gutsy gamble at a crucial time lifted Windsor High to a 39-34 boys basketball victory over Springfield last night at Windsor High School.

The Yellowjackets led the teams’ season opener by 11 points early in the fourth quarter before the visitors pulled within two points with 35 seconds remaining.

“I was really sweating,” said 30th-year Windsor coach Harry Ladue, whose squad received a game-high 18 points from senior forward Luke TanCreti. “We tried to keep everything under control, but we missed some foul shots and we didn’t hit shots when we drove to the basket.”

Springfield’s Mike Muther pulled his team within 36-34 on an unorthodox play in the final minute. After having a 3-point attempt blocked by leaping Windsor center Mike Bradley, Muther grabbed the deflection out of the air and successfully drove the lane, hitting a layup.

Windsor then moved upcourt and TanCreti was fouled by Jordan Crowley, giving him a one-and-one foul shot opportunity. TanCreti missed the front end, however, and Springfield had a chance to tie or take the lead with 25 seconds to play.

Springfield point guard Tanner Abberle dribbled around the perimeter, seeking an opening, but as he moved to the top of the arc, Windsor’s Shawn Pinsonault lunged forward and tipped the ball into center court. The pair shot after the loose leather like famished beagles in pursuit of a bone, and it skittered out of bounds as the players landed on the floor. The referees ruled Abberle had touched it last, and Windsor gained possession with four seconds on the clock.

“We didn’t want (Abberle) to beat us down the middle because he was driving and passing so well,” Ladue said. Pinsonault’s play “was very daring, but believe me, I wish he’d been more conservative. You’re living on the edge as a defensive player when you overplay someone like that, but he’s quick and it turned out in our favor.”

Windsor trailed 15-8 after a quarter but outscored the Cosmos 10-0 during the second stanza. The Yellowjackets’ 18-15 halftime lead swelled to 28-19 after three quarters, but Springfield climbed back in the game with help from a pair of 3-point shots by J.T. Therrien and Devin Brady.

Windsor made just three out of nine free throws during the second half. The Yellowjackets played without starting center Tanner Tibbits. Ladue declined to discuss why the 6-foot-4 senior was out of the lineup, saying only that “he has a situation he needs to get taken care of.”

Springfield was led in scoring by Muther, who had 11 points. Brady followed with nine and Abberle and Therrien each had five. Windsor received seven points from freshman forward Nick Kapuscinski and four each from Tyson Boudro and Ethan Hill. The Yellowjackets visit Thetford tomorrow and Fair Haven on Tuesday.

Notes: A manager kept running statistics for Windsor on an iPad during the game. … Windsor was 9-14 and reached the Vermont Division III semifinals last season, while Springfield was 6-14 and lost in the first round of the Division II bracket. The Cosmos, who split two games with Windsor last winter, are 42-47 under fifth-year coach Pete Peck. … Last night’s junior varsity contest was won by Springfield, 56-40.

Tris Wykes can be reached at twykes@vnews.com or 603-727-3227.